Before we begin to split hairs about Spielberg's response to the Beijing Olympics, wishing that he'd spoken about the Chinese occupation of Tibet as well, we need to remember Gandhi and his inclusive approach to imperial occupation. Gandhi would have undeniably applauded Spielberg’s actions, which he would have seen as a moment of heightened consciousness played out on the world stage against one of the world’s largest powers. Remember that in his fight for Indian independence, Gandhi spoke for Muslims as well as for the Hindus, a fact, of course, that led directly to his assassination.
That Spielberg’s press release mentions only Darfur is beside the point for Tibet supporters. Human rights violations are human rights violations, and when they are coming at the hands of the Chinese, those who draw attention to abuses in Darfur are also drawing attention to those in Tibet. The non-violent approach to this problem of multi-national oppression urges that the evidence be accumulated gradually and broadly, privileging no one’s suffering over another’s. Spielberg, speaking from his extremely visible and powerful platform, has called dramatic attention to one of the world's most prolific violators of basic human rights. That benefits all sentient beings, including, of course, the Tibetans.
Now let’s hope that the momentum generated by Spielberg doesn't dissipate. We can help. Tell your friends. Don't watch the Olympics. Or watch the Olympics, knowing full well what you are watching. Increase our awareness, first, and appropriate actions will follow based on our individual capacities for reform and social change.
For related information, head over to Lhadon Tethong's blog.